President Muhammadu Buhari Has said despite so much effort on his part to make the country better, his best does not seem to be enough for some Nigerians.
He also said “I wonder if I am going to miss much. I think I’m being harassed. I believe I’m trying my best but still, my best is not good enough. Because there are people around that think that they can intimidate me to get what they want instead of going through certain systems to earn whatever they want to earn. And they are some people who want to be clever,” Buhari said in a documentary played at a private dinner organised by his family and close associates to mark his 80th birthday on Friday night at the State House Banquet Hall.
Buhari also described as “not a funny joke,” claims by some Nigerians that presumed him to be long dead and replaced by a body double named ‘Jibril of Sudan.’
The President said the dark rumour was the handiwork of some mischief makers who thrive on what they do not understand.
In the documentary interview, Buhari responded to a question about the rumour saying, “Yes! People said I am somebody from Sudan. I didn’t bother with the name. Nigerians have mischievous ways of explaining themselves.”
Asked if he finds such allusions to be funny, he said, “No. It is not funny because those who made those statements, just want to be cheeky. They want to distract attention from the main issue. Our main issue is to do the infrastructure and make people aware that they need to work hard to live well. They just want to enjoy life without earning the respect of their community and so on.”
While proposing a toast for the celebrant earlier, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo described Buhari as a forthright, kind man and an exemplary leader.
Citing the President’s “sense of humour,” Osinbajo said Buhari would make a good entertainer post-presidency.
He recalled how the President used jokes to calm him down and retract his intention to submit a letter to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, to investigate allegations of corruption levelled against him.
“Mr President is a very humorous man and I think he would make a very good career in entertainment one way or the other when he retires. One day, I went to him because there were some allegations made against me. And I was so angry, so I went to him to show him the letter I had written to the EFCC to investigate.
“He looked at it and looked at me because he calls me VP or Professor depending on his mood. This time he said, ‘VP, why do you worry yourself about all these people? These people just make all sorts of allegations, they make all sorts of stories up, even they are saying that I am about to get married again. And even some foolish people were waiting at the National Mosque, waiting for me to come and marry again,” he said.
Osinbajo eulogised Buhari for leading the nation with “great courage and commitment,” saying “I invite your excellences, ladies and gentlemen, to join me in proposing this toast to an exemplary leader, a forthright and honest man, a good and kind man, and a man who has led this country with great courage, determination and commitment for so many years.
“We pray that the almighty God will preserve his life for very many years to come and that he will live all of these many years in good health, peace, joy and with the love of all of our countrymen.”
In his address, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, likened Buhari to other leaders such as “Charles De Gaulle of France, Franklin Roosevelt of America, Winston Churchill of Great Britain and Buhari of Nigeria.”
He also said the President’s drive to ensure free and fair elections will be upheld.
“When you talk of PVC, card reader, transparency and honesty in the electoral process like you did, we can only promise not to let you down,” Tinubu said.
A former Governor of Ogun State, Ibikunle Amosun, described Buhari as a man of impeccable character, a nationalist, a good listener and a lover of his family and the country.
Similarly, the Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, described the President as a detribalised person that means well to Nigerians.
Citing the nearly-completed Second Niger Bridge, Umahi said the piece of infrastructure “is now facilitating the movement of people and goods to the Eastern part of the country this yuletide season. Second Niger Bridge is a miracle that those of us in the South East are still savouring.
Additionally, traditional leaders including the Oba of Benin, Ewuare II, the Emir of Kazaure, Najib Adamu, and the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, sent greetings.
Atiku Bagudu, the governor of Kebbi; Aminu Masari, the governor of Katsina; Kayode Fayemi, the former governor of Ekiti state; Boss Mustapha, the secretary to the government of the federation; Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, the president’s chief of staff; and other business leaders, including Nduka Obaigbena, the chairman of AriseTV and the Thisday Group.